“I wore so much more makeup in my twenties,” Kristen Bell told us last week in a phone interview. “I’m not sure why, maybe I was overcompensating for insecurities? Now I like being fresh-faced on my days off.” Those insecurities are laughable to the actress now, including her eyes, which she jokes are “ferret-like.” Bell has learned tricks to make them look larger—see our slideshow—but we’d guess it’s her powerhouse career and new baby that’s made those old concerns unimportant.
That is, a career that just took a trip down memory lane with her latest film, Veronica Mars.
Bell starred in the cult T.V. show 10 years ago, and after a few attempts to give its fans a film, it finally happened thanks to Bell, Kickstarter, and a viral video. “I knew we’d raise the money we needed,” Bell told us. “But I never thought we would raise it that fast.” In fact, fans ‘produced’ the film by giving 2 million dollars in under 12 hours—in exchange for things like movie tickets and signed posters—and ending the campaign with 5.7 million total to make the film.
You can catch Veronica Mars in limited-release theaters and video on demand this weekend, but in the meantime, click through our slideshow for Bell’s post-baby workout, how she quit picking her face, and all her natural beauty secrets.
“I purchased the original OPI gel manicure set five years ago: I was very ahead of the trend,” Bell says. “I love gel manicures. Some might even say I’m obsessed. I have my girlfriends come over and I do their nails.” The actress keeps a range of polishes on hand at all times. “Lately, I’ve been loving white and baby blue,” she says.
Try the Sephora by OPI Gelshine At-Home Gel Colour System ($159).
Manicures aren’t the only thing Bell shares with her friends. “I get so many compliments on my perfume, I actually hand them out,” the actress says. Her scent? “An amber oil I buy at Whole Foods for about $5. I’ve worn it for six or seven years.”
Head to Whole Foods, or try C.O. Bigelow’s Amber Perfume Oil ($15).
Another thing you’ll find in Bell’s bag is her go-to hair brush. “I love the Mason Pearson brush,” she says. “It’s so old school and feels great on your scalp.” Try the Handy Bristle Hair Brush ($230).
“It was my idea,” Bell says about matching her lipstick to her red dress at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party earlier this month. “Sometimes it’s nice to be classy.”
“I genuinely like doing DIY beauty recipes at home,” Bell says. “I’ll make a scrub with brown sugar, honey, and olive oil and keep it in a Mason jar in my shower for a month. I also mix avocado and lemon and make it into a face mask.”
“I used to pick my skin a lot,” Bell told us. “It was just so rewarding, but then I realized how much damage it causes.” Now the actress, who is a face of Neutrogena, swears by another method to keep her pores clear. “Using a hot washcloth gives me much better results.” After her morning hot-compress, Bell applies Neutrogena Naturals Multi-Vitamin Moisturizer ($15). “I have a bit of eczema, and if I use something unnatural it will just sit on top of my skin,” she says. “My skin drinks this in immediately.”
“Most people have great hair when they’re pregnant, but I was the opposite,” Bell told us. “My skin was glowing but my hair was so brittle.” Her remedy? “I love using coconut oil as a moisturizing hair mask,” she says. “Plus it smells like a pina colada!” Between treatments, she lathers up with Neutrogena Triple Moisture Shampoo ($6) and Conditioner ($6).
Try Barlean's Organic Oils Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($14).
Post wash, Bell reaches for Kevin Murphy Body Builder Volumizing Mousse ($36). “It's like a root booster and a dry shampoo in one,” she says. “It's a great one-step product to style my hair.”
“I just throw on a bit of mascara and lip balm on my days off,” Bell says. “But I also love having fun with makeup.”
Above, the actress attends the New York screening of her film Veronica Mars.
“I have really small eyes, they’re almost a little ferret-like,” Bell told us. Her beauty trick to make them appear larger? “I’ve learned to put my mascara on with a fan brush, so it’s darker at the roots and lighter at the ends,” she says. “Which opens up your eyes.”
Try Make Up For Ever’s 200 Eye Fan Brush ($22).
Bell also strategically applies her eye liner and curls her lashes with Shu Ueumra’s Lash Curler ($20). “If you put on your eyeliner just from the middle of your lid to the outside edge it helps to open your eyes,” Bell says. “And whenever I’m on camera I’m always wearing individual lashes.”
Try Ardell's DuraLash Naturals Flare ($4) in Medium Black.
Bell’s love of DIY beauty products extends to her travel routine. “I like to have a bit of fresh rose water with me,” she says. “I just mix a little rose essential oil with water and keep it in a little bottle to spray on my face when I get off the plane. You can use peppermint or lavender essential oils, too.” In her travel bag you’ll also find Neutrogena Naturals Lip Balm ($4) and hand sanitizer. “When you travel, you’re around so many people—many of who just had their fingers in their nose, “ Bell says.
“So it’s nice to have a hand sanitizer around.”
“I used to hate lipstick,” Bell says. “But over the last year have done a complete 180. I love anything bright—pink, red, and coral—it makes me feel like a lady.”
“I just started doing pilates three months ago, and I’ve realized that all other forms of exercise are now irrelevant to me,” Bell says. “My goal was to lose my baby weight, but I also wanted to feel strong. It’s way more attractive to be fit than waif-like.”
Manduka ProLite Two-Tone Yoga Mat ($86), pictured.
Post-workout, Bell swears by a DIY salt bath. “I love soaking in a bath with epsom salts,” she says. “It’s so soothing and makes sore muscles feel great again.”
Try Dr. Teal's Epsom Salt Soaking Solution ($7).